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A Moroccan story through fashion

London Fashion Week kicked off in the British capital last week and for the first time included a debut of Moroccan fashion as Stories from Morocco was launched.

Authors: Yasmina Allouche and Jehan Alfarra

London Fashion Week kicked off in the British capital last week and for the first time included a debut of Moroccan fashion as Stories from Morocco was launched.

Spanning two days, De Vere Connaught Rooms venue was transformed into Morocco where global Moroccan designers unveiled their collections and showcased their take on Morocco’s most symbolic dress: the kaftan.

Some of the designers that had their collections showcased included Bouchra Filali, Romeo Couture, Meryam Belkhayat and Leila Hadioui, all displaying bespoke and handmade editions, tying old traditions with modern looks.

Beautifully intricate, the audience was treated to an orgy of kaftans all highlighting different Moroccan interpretations of Morocco’s most recognisable dress.

During the intervals the hall was transported into a party, as singers Rhany Kabbaj and Asma Lmnawar regaled the audience with popular hits.

“As a Moroccan, it made me so proud to see that Moroccan fashion was incorporated within London fashion week,” British-Moroccan YouTuber, Sara Chouki (sra ch0) told MEMO.

Spectators enjoy Moroccan dresses on the catwalk at London Fashion Week! Jehan Alfarra/Middle East Monitor]

“I was also really impressed by the multiculturalism of both the audience and the models that were used.”

Launched for the first time this year, the initiative was born through a love fusion of fashion and gastronomy by a group of Moroccans including Jalila Elmastouki and chef Khalid Dahbi.

Elmastouki hopes Stories from Morocco will become an annual event with a vision to revive old embroideries from the ancient Moroccan cities of Fez, Rabat and Marrakech and elsewhere and to bring designers “who relay the full glory of this amazing and versatile garment”.

She has been promoting kaftan fashion internationally for many years and showed how it has evolved from the mix of “Berber, Jewish, African, Arabic and Moorish peoples of Morocco”.

“This was a passion of mine that started a year and a half ago,” Dahbi told MEMO. “The idea of Stories from Morocco came around from my principle of what I want to see Moroccan as…and putting across my vision of what Morocco is.”

 

“My inspiration for this collection is Moroccan women and their story,” designer Nadia Boutaleb told MEMO.

Boutaleb first began designing kaftans ten years ago and launched her 20 piece collection two years ago.

Joining Jalila in organising the event was established chef Khalid Dahbi who came up with the idea for the event to highlight the best of Morocco’s traditions and cuisine.

“This was a passion of mine that started a year and a half ago,” Dahbi told MEMO. “The idea of Stories from Morocco came around from my principle of what I want to see Moroccan as…and putting across my vision of what Morocco is.”

Guests were later treated to a feast of Moroccan cuisine through Dahbi’s culinary project, Babouch, which included a four-course menu full of “the richness and diversity of Moroccan food” whilst seated in a room designed in the style of a traditional Moorish house.

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